By Kristi Kates
Night Kite Revival is most definitely not what Northern Michiganders
have come to expect from the Traverse City Opera House. And thats not
a bad thing.
Theyre probably the most interesting performers weve had here,
enthuses City Opera House General Manager Diana Barrie.
Entertaining audiences for over ten years, the trio--namely Derrick
Brown, Buddy Wakefield, and Anis Mojgani--have a number of
accomplishments among them. Brown has opened for indie bands like The
Flaming Lips and Cold War Kids, and Mojgani and Wakefield are both
two-time Individual National Poetry Slam Champions. Under the trios
new name--Night Kite Revival being an apt description for this
verbal circus, as theyre often described--theyll be appearing at
the Opera House on October 5.
Poetry recitals or poetry slams often get a bad rap in general among
those looking for on-stage entertainment. But unlike the typical
incarnations of either of these events, Night Kite Revivals three
talents, who have also appeared on HBO and The Tonight Show, combine
their skills and wit to intrigue their audiences and make them think
twice about the on-stage rapport.
I was not a poetry fan before, Barrie says, but then I read one of
their books, and I now volunteer to help them with their performances.
Their poetry is political, thoughtful, humorous, and challenging, she
continues. Its actually very different from the in-your-face, loud
experience that my perception of spoken-word poetry was before.
The members of Night Kite Revival themselves also have a unique
perception of - well, pretty much everything around them. When asked a
few questions about the group, Browns answers are half humor, half
logic - a good insight to what you can expect at NKRs performance.
On how they met, Brown says: We all ended up at the gym at the same
time because of the Founders Day Jubilee, he explains. we tied the
burlap sack race. When Anis fell, he said This hurts like an elephant
suffocating on Mars, and the rest is poetic history.
Brown has a similar response when asked how the trio puts together
their live show.
The way the theatre experience was crafted was through a public poll
involving 500 people, where we asked what is boring about poetry?
Then we got rid of 45% of what was boring. The other 50% is all from
our creative minds, and the remaining 5% is the boring again. You do
the math, he concludes.
WHATS IN A NAME
As for the name that the trio settled on, Browns answer is slightly
more sober - well, after a recital of the zany names that they could
Other possible titles for the show were: The Tree Lemons, Night
Moves, The 14 Musket Tears, New Jersey: The Traveling Road Show, and
Gary Boggle On Ice, Brown says, but then we realized that our souls
were as dark as a kite flying in the night, so maybe we should just do
A few additional names - aka special guests - will be joining Night
Kite Revival for their Traverse City show.
Theyll also have (poetry slam performers) Robbie Q. and Mighty Mike
McGee with them, Barrie says, which makes this show a little
different from their other national shows.
Said to be like a rock concert, improv show, dance party, and poetry
reading all rolled into one, NKRs performances - which are more akin
to events or happenings, if you want to use a 60s term -- are
well-regarded and often thought of as the pinnacle of what a
poetry-slam-meets-theater-experience can be.
From their appearances at the Austin Poetry Slam (one of the
highlights of our year!) to the Wordstock Literary Festival (truly
phenomenal - the Revival is the real thing), Night Kite Revival fills
the room with energy and - much like Barrie experienced - may indeed
change how you perceive todays modern poetry.
You can definitely expect a few laughs, too - but be sure to have a
snack before you go.
On stage and off - theyre hilarious, Barrie says, but remember -
it is strictly a B.Y.O.C. - bring your own churros-show, Brown grins.
Night Kite Revival will be appearing at the Traverse City Opera House
on October 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at
www.cityoperahouse.org. Strong language and mature content may not be
appropriate for everyone.